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Social Sci LibreTexts

5: What is a Family?

  • Page ID
    39228
  • Learning Objectives

    • Understand the various family forms.
    • Know the typical developmental trajectory of families.
    • Understand cultural differences in dating, marriage, and divorce.

    It is often said that humans are social creatures. We make friends, live in communities, and connect to acquaintances through shared interests. In recent times, social media has become a new way for people to connect with childhood peers, friends of friends, and even strangers. Perhaps nothing is more central to the social world than the concept of family. Our families represent our earliest relationships and—often—our most enduring ones. In this module, you will learn about the psychology of families. Our discussion will begin with a basic definition of family and how this has changed across time and place. Next, we move on to a discussion of family roles and how families evolve across the lifespan. Finally, we conclude with issues such as divorce and abuse that are important factors in the psychological health of families.

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